Gordon Snell, editor of Thicker Than Water
, gets right to the point with his introductory sentence: "This remarkable collection was inspired by the fact that Ireland is a young country: around half of its population is under the age of twenty-five. For them, coming of age is a very recent or present reality." By pairing the universality of teen angst with a more exotic locale than the well-studied United States, Snell has created a bridge of understanding that spans the Atlantic from one "young" country to another. While bestselling author Maeve Binchy and popular young adult author Chris Lynch are probably the only writers here who will gain any name recognition with American readers, this fine assortment of stories is a wonderful introduction to Irish writers for teens. Lynch's "Off Ya Go, So" illustrates that teenage pregnancy makes for a painful decision no matter what the culture, while Binchy's "When Grania Grows Up" explores, in spare and beautiful prose, the quiet demise of a parents marriage, as seen through the eyes of their youngest daughter. Helena Mulkerns's creation, an Irish waitress in the heart of Texas, attempts to make over her identity in "Landlocked," and in the title story, Emma Donoghue writes, in a perfectly pitched teen voice, about how two sisters learn to draw blood using only their sharp tongues. From defying parents and fighting with siblings, to longing to change identity along with clothes and makeup, Snell has presented a green-tinted collection that nevertheless brilliantly expresses the rainbow of adolescent emotion. (Ages 13 and older) --Jennifer Hubert
From Publishers Weekly
A dozen tales cover a gamut of emotions in Thicker Than Water: Coming-of-Age Stories by Irish and Irish American Writers, ed. by Gordon Snell, from Vincent Banville's "One Day When We Were Young," which captures a 13-year-old boy's awakening sexual attraction in 1955 Ireland, to a cheeky teen's account of her mother's remarriage in the titular short story by Emma Donoghue, to Chris Lynch's "Off Ya Go, So," a bittersweet tale of the end of innocence for a Bostonian teen on holiday in Ireland and for the young woman with whom he falls in love.
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